The New Generation of Boys’ Names

Gender identity takes a turn for the middle

By Pamela Redmond

Many of today’s most fashionable boys’ names carry a gender identity that’s decidedly masculine but not conventionally so, softer than macho but stronger than unisex. These boys’ names fall right in the middle on the gender scale, in contrast to their stylish female counterparts, which tend to be ultra-feminine (Arabella, Ophelia) or frankly boyish (Hayden, Frankie).

Many of these hot new boys’ names carry sounds that are soft and/or traditionally connected to girls’ names, such as vowel endings, and so depart from the classic male names once dominant. These stylish boys’ names with a fresh gender identity include:

Oliver and Owen

For whatever reason, these two seem to be somewhat regional names in America. Neither is in the Top 10 overall. But Oliver is the most popular boys’ name in no fewer than eight states, mostly in the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, while Owen is the Number 1 name in Vermont. Their round O beginnings place them in the group of stylish nontraditional boys’ names.

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